X-Message-Number: 553
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 91 16:33:16 CST
From: Brian Stewart <nicmad!madnix!blupe>

    I have never actually considered Larry Niven's "A World Out
of Time" an argument against cryonics.  After all, the hero stole
a spaceship, visited the center of the galaxy, and, after
returning to Earth, ended up in charge of a society with access
to antiaging technology!  Not too shabby an adventure if you ask
    Incidentally, even though in "A World Out of Time" the
"corpsicles" weren't broken up for parts, in his Known Space
stories some were.  I can't recall the exact story that it was
mentioned in, but I believe it was in his ARM collection.  The
story took place during a time when the Earth had very advanced
organ transplant technology and not enough spare parts, so they
took them from the "corpsicles" that they felt wouldn't fit in
their society, as well as from anyone who broke too many laws--
no matter how minor the laws were.  (Incidentally, the
"corpsicles"  who were used for parts were people who hadn't
liked the time they were living in, so had themselves placed in
cryonic suspension as a way to escape the present.)  Thankfully
that incident was only a minor part of the story.
    What I find interesting about the Scary Stories is that,
almost without exception, the cryonics process works-- it is the
future that is bad.  Whether the authors realize it or not, what
they are really saying is that people need to work towards the
kind of future they want, which is an old literary theme (as well
as good advice.)
    I would like to note that the most realistic portrayal of
cryonics I have read was in a murder mystery comic book, "the
Maze Agency" #5, in which the hero and heroine investigate the
murder of a security guard who interrupted a break in at a
private cryonics institute.  In this story the organization had
invented a "special cryoprotective agent", which allowed the
organization to attempt to revive the founder's husband about two
thirds of the way through the story.  The attempt fails, not due
to any flaw on the part of the organization, but because one of
the people involved in the revival process was insanely jealous
of the relation the organization's founder had with her husband.
In this case the story's message was that an organization should
be aware of the motives of its members.  (Also, as far as I can
tell, the comic book's author never passed any moral judgment one
way or the other on cryonics, although some of the minor
characters in the story certainly did!)
    Finally, the author Gregory Benford stated in the December
1991 edition of Science Fiction Review that he is working on a
book called "Chiller", in which he will attempt to accurately
depict cryonics as it is today or in the near future.  He
included an excerpt from the story and, as far as I can tell, it
looks to be a good story.

                                  Brian A. Stewart.

P.S.:  As far as murder stories go, they would probably follow a
formula such as this:  the hero is either a back up copy or
simply a copy of the murdered.  Someone has, through extremely
interesting logistics, murdered all of the other copies and/or
back up copies of the individual.  The hero would then be working
to find out who the murderer is, all the time wondering if he
would be next.  (The author could put the twist on the story that
the murderer is, in fact, one of the person's *other* copies, of

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